The Voluntary Butler Scheme - A Million Ways To Make Gold 
The Voluntary Butler Scheme - A Million Ways To Make Gold

Release Date: 24th March 2014

LWM's favourite eccentric solo artist with a ridiculously wordy pseudonym is back with an album! OK, it's a niche category but if it was up to me he'd win the Brit every year. 'A Million Ways To Make Gold' is an adventure on the top floor of double-decker bus, an odyssey in Anglesey, a labyrinth made of wheelie bins - brilliant but much of this world is what I'm trying to say. Opening with the six minute opus 'The Q Word' The VBS weave mid-90s computer game music, live horns and a sense of pleading together to make a celebratory "welcome to the party" kinda tune. 'Looking For Nearby Water' is a jaunty little number that is bound to put a spring your step on the dreariest of days while recent single 'Honey In The Gravel Mixture' is still a delightful romp in the Badly Drawn Boy mould. And then there's 'Brain Freeze'. Jesus H. Christ this is a tune. Think Bentley Rhythm Ace, Cornershop, the Jackson 5 and the Lightning Seeds rolled in to one funky mess and you're half way - good luck trying to dance to this one by the way, you'll want to but it ain't easy.

'That's How I Got To Memphis' is a country ballad that manages to have the same rhythm and sway as a tired cowboy on an even more exhausted horse. Early single 'Quinzhee' pops up in all its Jim Noir loveliness before the dirty funk stomp of 'Believe' takes over with its dancehall echo and rich, luxuriant horns. Despite sounding suspiciously like 'Stand By Me' at times, 'So Tired (So Tired)' evokes images of sweaty soul singers coming back on for an encore at a dilapidated Blackpool ballroom, for some reason.  If The VBS was a band, and I'm sure there is a full band behind our hero, then you would say they're in the same vein as The Bees or a very English Flaming Lips which is a great thing in my book. 'No Easy Way Out' and 'The Regulatory Reform' are great examples of this style as both are quirky, infectious and ear-catching but they are also remarkably well crafted songs with huge potential for a soft shoe shuffle around the kitchen while you're whipping up a Spag Bol. The final track from The VBS this time is 'A Million Ways To Make Gold' which is a somewhat subdued end to the album but there's only so much you can take from a persistently funky and engaging album before it tires you out. I thoroughly recommend this if you're thinking of something a bit new and different for your collection, just in time for Spring too.

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